The musings of an academic geek yogi
I have started the new year thinking a lot about food. Like many, I am not ashamed to admit that I fell off the wagon during the holidays. When it comes to my approach to food, the momentary pleasure or convenience was not worth the headaches, acne or weight gain. Let me be clear, being a vegan for me is an act of social justice but it is also critical for my health. After being a vegan I can tell you it is impossible to go back to mindless food consumerism and not notice how terrible your body feels.
This post is one of two articles I am posting on my website with some tips for my local central valley friends who might want to try a plant-based diet.
I am frequently asked if it is challenging to be a vegan. The short answer is yes. But not for the reasons you might think. The biggest challenge is I try to never eat something without knowing exactly what is in it. I have been shocked by how many restaurant staff are oblivious to what is in their food.
Local restaurants have been a pleasant experience for me. In some instances, mostly while traveling, the kitchen will make me something vegan even if there is not an option on the menu. There are several restaurants in town that will happily adjust a vegetarian meal to make it vegan and a few of my local downtown favorites include:
La Costa Mariscos- veggie fajitas and house margarita
Narducci’s - veggie sandwich and Italian ice
Jasmine and the New Taste –yellow vegan curry with brown rice
Woolgrowers- Monsignor Craig’s Pasta (sans cheese)
The Hen’s Roost
If I need a quick hearty vegan meal the best kept secret in Bakersfield is the Hen’s Roost. They are not always open but when they are it is vegan heaven. With my other spots I have my go-to vegan dishes but with the Roost I have never eaten something bad.
Most people no matter how health conscious find themselves faced with a drive through window at some point. When this happens the regularly updated PETA website is super helpful in laying out what is and is not vegan.
Lack of time is not a good reason to eat animals. At this points in my life it is almost impossible to always be able to sit down to dinner. My go-to fast-food preferences are: Chipotle, Pizza Rev, Starbucks, Jack in a Box, and Taco Bell. I know you are probably thinking Taco Bell? But the bean burritos sans cheese or sauce are still filled with enough warm carb and sodium flavor to hit the spot. Starbucks has good oatmeal and always has processed sugar infused granola bars. Jack-In-Box curly fries are good but do risk cross contamination. When I go to Pizza Rev I get so excited to eat thin crust pizza with a mound of fresh veggies.
WEIGHT LOSS and HEALTH
On a final note, I wanted to be totally clear that it is silly to become a vegan with the sole aim of losing weight. If you want to lose weight see a professional nutritionist and cut calories but do not think veganism is a magic cure. I can say with all honesty for most people, me included, a plant-based diet helps you feel better. However, if you only eat french fries and oreos then being vegan could cause you to gain weight quickly.
Part two of this article is coming soon and will provide some tips on vegan family meals and easy meal preparation. But if you have any questions or additions please feel free to comment.
Reflection: Today I will put my money where my heart is and shop and buy local.